Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, leading to nationally recognised qualifications designed around the needs of employers and employees.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust provides apprenticeships in Clinical Healthcare Support, which prepare participants for the role of Clinical Support Worker. These apprenticeships are suitable for people who want to work with patients, are at least 18 years old (there is no upper age limit), and have a minimum Grade D GCSE or equivalent in Maths and English.

This information focuses on our apprenticeships in Clinical Healthcare Support Workers.

What is the Apprentice
Clinical Support Worker Programme?

The Apprentice Clinical Support Worker Programme consists of a 12 month work placement in a clinical area. During that time education and training will be provided which equips the apprentice with the skills needed to enable them to work as a Clinical Support Worker. The Apprenticeship Framework includes completion of the qualifications listed below.

The Apprenticeship Programme starts with a three week induction which prepares participants for working on a ward, including learning about caring for patients, health and safety, confidentiality, safe moving and handling of patients, hand hygiene, bed making, equality & diversity and spirituality.

  • Level 2 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support
  • BTEC Level 2 Extended Award in Work skills for Effective Learning and Employment
  • Functional Skills in Math and English at Level 1.
  • What is a Clinical Support Worker?

    Clinical Support Worker (or CSW) work as part of the nursing team on a ward. Their role is to help the nurses and other Clinical Support Workers care for the patients. The types of tasks they are involved in will depend upon the ward they work on. Tasks may include helping patients with their meals, helping patients to wash, dress and use toilet facilities, helping move patients in and out of bed and making them feel comfortable. Other daily tasks may include collecting and delivering things between departments, answering the telephone and passing on messages.

    This role involves delivering intimate personal care, which includes handling unpleasant body fluids. Clinical Support Workers need to demonstrate a mature, professional attitude in this situation and respect for patient's privacy and dignity is essential.

  • Where would I be working?

    Participants in the 12 month Apprenticeship Programme are placed in one ward/clinical area to enable them to gain as much experience as possible. Apprentices work on placement for 37.5 hours per week in any clinical area within Leeds Teaching Hospitals. This can include working with a range of patients including those with mental and physical disabilities and older people.

    Clinical placements can be on any of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals sites which include St James's University Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary, Wharfedale Hospital, Chapel Allerton Hospital or Seacroft Hospital.

  • Who will I be working with?

    On a day to day basis apprentice’s work with nurses, other clinical support workers and the ward manager. There are lots of other people who are involved in the patient's care including doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and social workers, depending on the needs of the patient. Other staff who contribute to the smooth running of the ward, include the ward clerk, the cleaners/housekeepers and porters.

  • Where will the Programme be held?

    The 12 month Apprenticeship Programme is delivered by an external training provider in conjunction with Leeds Teaching Hospitals staff. Study days will mostly be held at St James's Hospital.

  • What hours will I work?

    Apprentices work 37.5 hours a week. The shifts will be varied and there is a requirement for to work flexibly. Apprentices are expected to work a combination of shifts in any 7 day period and this can include early shifts late shifts and nights. No two weeks will be the same.

    Shifts could be 7.5 hours long, exclusive of breaks and meal times - e.g. 7am to 3pm, 7.30am to 3.30pm, 12pm to 8pm or 13.30pm to 8.30pm. There is a 30 minute unpaid meal break and a short break within each shift. Increasingly there is a requirement to work long days 7.30 am until 8.30pm with two half hour meal breaks.

    Apprentices are expected to work weekends but should be entitled to at least 1 weekend off in 4, depending on the needs of the service.

    It is expected that apprentices undertake night duty as part of internal rotation of staff. In some areas such as the Emergency Department twilight shifts are worked which are from 6pm until 2am or long twilight shifts from 1pm to 2am.

  • How much holiday will I be entitled to?

    Within the 12 month Apprenticeship Programme, Apprentice CSWs are entitled to 27 days annual leave plus any additional bank holidays that occur during the training programme. Annual leave dates are agreed with the ward sister but cannot be taken when study leave is planned.

    All study leave is mandatory, all study days must be attended.

  • What happens if I am off sick?

    To ensure that apprentices get sufficient placement experience to gain their Level 2 Diploma, it is expected that no more than two days sickness within the first 6 months and no more than five days in the whole 12 months is taken.

    Attendance will be monitored in accordance with the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust's Attendance Management Policy.

  • How will I undertake my Level 2 Diploma?

    All apprentices undertake a Level 2 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support. The choice of Units provides the essential nursing skills, knowledge and experience needed to apply for a permanent clinical support worker post.

    Throughout the Apprenticeship Programme classroom teaching is provided in most aspects of healthcare. Apprentices use an electronic portfolio to store evidence for their Diploma and all course work is submitted on line.

    Apprentices must have access to a computer that is compatible with Microsoft Office to enable completion of course work online.

    Apprentices must also be prepared to spend approximately 8 hours per week in their own time to complete coursework. They are also allocated a Mentor who provides support throughout the 12 month Apprenticeship Programme.

  • What opportunities are there once I have completed the Programme?

    Apprentices are placed on a ward where there is a potential vacancy. This is their opportunity to shine and prove to the ward sister that they are an invaluable member of the team so that they will want to offer a permanent role on the ward.

    Apprentices who secure a permanent post, have the opportunity to further develop into their role.

  • What is a typical morning shift like for an Apprentice Clinical Support Worker?

    Christina explains her role:

    "I arrive for my shift in a clean uniform, which I collect from the changing rooms daily and return when my shift is finished. I always arrive at least 15 minutes before my shift starts, this way I have time to change from outdoor clothing, into my uniform.

    I attend morning handover which includes information about each patient's individual needs that I will be assisting with.

    I start by helping with breakfasts, as some patients may need help with feeding at meal times, if they have sight impairments or disabilities. I then assist with all hygiene needs, making sure all patients have fresh towels, combs/brushes, shaving equipment, toothpaste/brush, and toiletries.

    I run baths and showers making sure that the water temperature is just right for each patient. Some patients prefer a bowl of water placed near to their beds with the curtains drawn, again depending on their level of mobility and individual needs.

    While the patients are up washing, reading, chatting or sitting out in their chairs, I attend to their beds by changing all sheets, pillowcases and blankets. I then dispose of all the bedding in the appropriate linen bags.

    I take a 30 minute break sometime in the morning. When I return to my patients I empty catheter bags (urine) stoma bags (faeces) and any other drainage bags used to drain away bodily fluids.

    During my shift I take and record patient observations which include blood pressure, respiration rate, oxygen saturations, heart rate, temperature and pulse. Patient observations can help to indicate how that patient's condition or illness is progressing. No matter how small any of these changes may seem I always report the change to a qualified nurse. I continue to care for patients by listening out for any call buttons that may go off in the meantime.

    When on shift, I always wash my hands and use the alcohol hand gel before, during and after providing care for my patients. I wear gloves and aprons as necessary to ensure infections are not picked up by myself and spread to other patients, this is called infection prevention and control.

    I help with lunch to assist kitchen staff to deliver all food at the appropriate time to the patients.

    I finish my morning shift by making sure that all patients are catered for (call buttons at hand), are comfortable and safe by handing over all information to the next member of staff who will be taking care of them throughout the next shift.

    Even though this can be hard work day to day, it is so rewarding."